06
Oct 10

Ken Macha out, Bob Brenly in?

In the most unsurprising news since your mom drunk dialed me last night, the Milwaukee Brewers decided not to retain the services of Ken Macha. Those of you who wished for his firing will be disappointed to know that he wasn't actually fired and his contract simply wasn't renewed. On his last day Doug Melvin and Gord Ash even helped him pack. The Ken Macha era ends not with a bang, but a whimper and every rose has it's thorn.

What can I say about the guy that hasn't already been said? I didn't like Ken Macha for awhile, but then I did. Now I like him and he's fired. Baseball is funny like that. I don't think he did anything to deserve getting fired (besides manage a team with a bad record), but he was hired to win and whether or not it was his fault that they didn't doesn't matter because they didn't. (Got that?) He could have made Gallardo pitch underhanded, batted Prince leadoff and changed the team uniform to Remetee if he won, but he didn't win so he's gone. It doesn't matter if he did a good or bad job because all that matters is the results. Ken Macha knows this:

"There's a lot of people who don't necessarily merit getting a promotion or getting fired. That's just the nature of this game. Do I think that I merited this? I don't know. Did I merit getting the job in the beginning? I'm not sure. That's just how things work out in baseball. That's the game. That's the business."

It is what it is. The next guy will come in and we will like or dislike him for awhile and then he'll be gone.

2010 was a bad season and someday had to pay. They blamed the pitching coach last season, it was Macha's turn. On to the next one.

Now, what if I told you that the Brewers were going to hire a former WORLD SERIES winning manager? That's what we need right, a winner? Somebody who has won before and knows how to do it again? A no-nonsense manager who has the experience and tools to succeed, that's what this team needs and that's what this team is looking to get.

Unfortunately, the man Doug Melvin has (allegedly) chosen to (possibly) do the job is Bob Brenly. Continue reading →


29
Sep 10

A brief argument to bring back Ken Macha

Buster Olney said this past week that "unless there is a last-hour change of heart on the part of the Brewers, Manager Ken Macha will not be retained." Is this the right move?

Here's a few facts about Ken Macha and managers in general:

  • Ken Macha does a pretty good job with the bullpen.
  • It wasn't Ken Macha's fault that the pitching was terrible.
  • It wasn't his fault last year either.
  • The offense has remained one of the best in the league.
  • There have been no public feuds with any of the players or among any of the players.
  • Despite what some Kameron Loe fans may say, he's been very good at protecting pitchers.
  • Too much credit is given to managers for a team's success or lack thereof.
  • A great manager is, at best, worth about two extra wins a year.

These are all true things. I didn't just make them up. They are reason enough to give Ken Macha another chance, but they are not why I am arguing to bring him back. The reason I think the Brewers should consider bringing back Ken Macha is this:

Teams with interim managers

Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago Cubs
Florida Marlins
Seattle Mariners

Teams with managers who are retiring at the end of the season (and are yet to name a replacement)

Atlanta Braves
Toronto Blue Jays

Team that is likely to fire its manager before next season

New York Mets

Team that should fire its manager before next season

St. Louis Cardinals

Team that could have its manager leave because of contract expiry

New York Yankees

Team that question mark

Chicago White Sox

That's ten (eleven if you count the Brewers) teams that could be looking for a new manager this offseason and a lot of those jobs look at lot more attractive to a perspective manager than the Milwaukee Brewers. A few of these teams are larger markets with rich baseball histories. Seattle has better sushi. Toronto is located in Canada. Florida has the best cocaine. Milwaukee is Milwaukee. There is going to be a lot of competition for managers and the best of them are likely not to come to Milwaukee. (That being said, if they were the best they would probably already have a job.) We might not be the first choice of the guy we want.

So what exactly is the point of getting a different person to do the same thing that Ken Macha already does? Or worse, what is the point of getting rid of Macha and hiring someone who does a worse job than he does? If the team wanted to fire him they should have done it back in May when it might have ignited the team or at least inspired the fanbase. Who cares now?

You can't blame Macha for the team's success because he's done the best that he could with what he had. He didn't have any pitching and you can't win with an incomplete team. The team has played hard all season long with no obvious signs of quitting like you see a lot of other teams doing this time of year. I don't think you can fire him based on results and if you can't do that, why fire him at all?

Ghost of Miller Park Drunk's Past says:

Because he batted Corey Patterson leadoff, that's why. Don't you remember? He batted Corey Patterson in the leadoff spot. COREY PATTERSON! ARE YOU F'N KIDDING ME!?

You know one of the things that old school people will say is "at the end of the season, players always hit what's on the back of their baseball card." I would consider Ken Macha to be an old school guy. Therefore, what does he see on the back of this baseball card that I don't? Because all I can see is mediocrity.

Now, it's not so much that he batted Corey Patterson leadoff that has me calling for his head. I mean on it's own that is pretty indefensible, but you could make a rather poor case for it without Hart, Cameron or Braun playing. What really pissed me off though was his use of him in the ninth inning of Monday's game. Namely, he let him bat when Ryan Braun was available.

In the eighth, Braun stepped into the on-deck circle to bat for the pitcher, but ended up not getting to bat. (You can't make the argument that he wasn't available because he was pretty clearly ready to bat in that inning.) Then in the ninth, that pinch hitting spot was taken by Craig Counsell who promptly drew a walk. Now with a runner on first with nobody out and down by only three, what would you do? Call on the best hitter not in the game, Ryan Braun, to pinch hit? The second best, Mike Cameron? The third best? Yovani? Well, if you are Ken Macha you let the absolute worst hitter on your team and quite possibly in all of baseball swing away and ground into a game defining, might as well be game ending double play.

And then after being completely hopeless in that leadoff spot, what does Macha do? BAT HIM LEAD OFF AGAIN THE NEXT DAY.

There is no forgiving rape and there is definitely not any forgiveness for child molesters, but batting Corey Patterson leadoff? ABSOLUTELY NO FORGIVENESS.

Fire this idiot.

Oh. Yeah. Forgot about that. Well..

Suck it Macha!


08
Sep 10

Trevor Hoffman saves number 600

Last night Trevor Hoffman saved his 600th game of his career. This is a big number, a number few will ever reach, and on it's own is very impressive. Trevor Hoffman has had a great career and he deserved to make it to this point. He was a great reliever, highly above average, every season of his career except for this one. I am happy for him. Good for you, Trevor. You worked hard to get to this point and you should enjoy it. You are truly one of the best closers of all time and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Now go away.

I didn't watch last night's game or go to it (despite having free tickets) because as my good friend Tyler Maas pointed out to me on facebook, Sons of Anarchy was on!

Awesome start to Sons tonight. I have no regrets that I watched that instead of seeing some guy get a meaningless amount of whatever at some place.

Do you know how long that show has been on hiatus? Nine months! Do you know how massive my blue balls for this show were? Plus, it's not like this game was going to somehow catapult the Brewers back into contention. I'm glad they won because screw the Cardinals and I guess in some twisted way I am happy that number 600 came against the same team that made us realize that Trevor Hoffman wasn't a good pitcher anymore. I mean, who could forget April 9th when Hoffman gave up the homerun to a guy on one knee? Or April 11th when Hoffman blew it and Casey bailed him out. These were defining moments of his season whether we realized it or not.

The truth is the season is lost and a moment like yesterday can be looked at as a lone bright spot in a long, crappy season. That's nice and maybe next year we can get a HOFFMAN 600 bobblehead, but it still doesn't change the fact that the season could have worked out completely different if Trevor Hoffman didn't singlehandedly lose 5 games before June 2nd. Let's try and keep some perspective here, we're not a bunch of Padres fans who deserve to be blindly happy about this. We're Brewers fans who saw a guy get his 600th save in a career that didn't affect us much.


01
Sep 10

5 Reasons NOT to hate Manny Parra

Disappointing.

Stupid.

Just doesn't get it.

A complete and total letdown.

What do these words in common? They aren't words that my parents used to describe me. Those involve much more f-words. No, they are all words and phrases people have used to describe Manny Parra. Last week Manny Parra was removed from the starting rotation and the talk about him, his potential and his future place in Milwaukee reached it's zenith.

Manny Parra is one of the most divisive figures in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and everyone has their own opinion on him. We once said that Manny Parra was the one and only job that Rick Peterson had when he joined this organization. (Fire Rick Peterson!) Whether we like it or not as Brewers fans Manny Parra is deep in our DNA, like herpes.

The thing is and always has been that Manny Parra does have talent, a lot of it. Maybe more than any starter that hasn't been robbed a gunpoint. Everyone knows this. We're at the point now where talking about Manny Parra is bordering on obsession. I spend more time on the internet reading and writing about Manny Parra than I do googling pictures of Christina Hendricks. That's just not right.

Anyways, as with any post about Manny Parra we need to get the required "Manny is actually kinda good" stuff out of the way first. I'm going to let other blogs do the heavy lifting on this one.

From BrewCrewBall:

The Brewers started the 2010 season with Parra in the bullpen. He was moved to the rotation and has started 13 games. He's responded with the best strikeout rate of his career (over 9 per 9) and has dropped his walk rate back down to about 4.3 per 9. His FIP is at 4.6, with a bad rate on home runs: his expected FIP is right at 4. The BABIP is right back up in the .360s, however, and his rates of line drives, fly balls, and ground balls are similar to last year's, and they're pretty much fine. And his ERA is 5.6.

If you're skeptical of FIP and tERA makes more sense to you, look at it this way: in the past three years, Parra's expected ERA based on his amount of line drives, fly balls, groundballs, strikeouts, and walks allowed, have been: 4.67, 4.78, and 4.67 again this year.

Something very strange is going on with Manny Parra. If someone can give me a justifiable reason why Parra is carrying the one of the highest BABIPs in history, I'm willing to listen.

So, Manny Parra is the same pitcher he's always been despite performing noticeably worse the last two years, but that's mostly because he gives up a lot of hits and homeruns. He's just run into some bad luck or something else, something presumably far more sinister. He's not this bad and this should even itself out at some point.  Maybe.

Got it.

Now for Disciples of Uecker:

The problem for Parra is the 6th inning. Parra has made it to the 6th inning in 16 games (including, I believe, one relief appearance). He has recorded 29 outs in these 16 games, allowing 18 earned runs, 25 hits, and 16 walks while striking out 15. I think it’s fair to say that Manny has “lost it” in the sixth inning on multiple (almost every?) occasion in which he’s had the chance.

The previous five innings are pretty good. 79 innings pitched, 40 ER (4.56 ERA), 81 Ks, 36 BBs. The only black spot is 13 HRs, and that’s a number that will likely regress, as Parra’s HR/FB rate is a career high this season. I’m hard pressed to explain why Parra struggles so mightily in the sixth inning. This isn’t an isolated issue for 2010, either – he has a 9.20 ERA in the sixth inning for his career.

So Manny Parra is an average to above average pitcher before the fifth inning then the wheels come off and he totally sucks. Got it.

See? Some times advanced statistics can prove exactly what we thought about people all along. Manny Parra is an underachiever who hasn't improved during his time with the team who gives up too many hits and homeruns despite being really good at striking people out. Also, he sucks after the fifth inning. I wonder if there's an advanced statistic that proves how easy your mom is.

It's hard not to hate him for this. He's talented, he's not working to get better and he's kind of good looking. He's everything I hate! It's like looking in a mirror! A mirror of self hate! He ruined my life!

Still, maybe we shouldn't hate him. I mean, he might figure it out one day and then it would be all weird between us. We should try not to hate him. We don't have to like him, but we should at least try and get along. Like I did with my mom and my new stepdad. Actually, that's a bad example. I still hate that asshole.

Anyway, here's five reasons not to have Manny Parra. Continue reading →


31
Aug 10

The real reason Carlos Gomez doesn’t play

Yesterday for the fifth straight game Carlos Gomez was not in the starting lineup for the Milwaukee Brewers. There are many theories as to why this is. Some point to his comments about Lorenzo Cain when he said:

"I'm the best centerfielder on the team. But Lorenzo is doing a really good job for the last two weeks and it's not fair for me to come off the DL and take his chance. I understand. He is a really good player, but I think I'm still the man on this team."

That would make sense. Others simply point to his horrendous .229/.286/.348 line and compare them to... anybody and it makes perfect sense why he's not been playing.

The debate as to whether Gomez should or shouldn't play, or should or shouldn't be re-signed is something that has been discussed heavily in the Brewer community over the past few weeks. However, it's hard to discuss these sorts of things if you don't know all of the facts.

Luckily, we have all the facts. Luckily, we have sources within the Brewers to let us know why certain things happen. We know why Carlos Gomez hasn't been playing and lucky for you we're not above betraying our sources to tell you why. Continue reading →